Facebook Ads: Would your Ad pass the text test?

Facebook Ads Text Rule

What does a Facebook Ad with 20% text look like?

Would you like your Facebook Ad to be given the go-ahead first time, with no hassle?
We give you the low-down on the 20% text rule below to ensure this can happen.

On the 15th January, Facebook introduced a new rule for Timeline covers and Facebook Ads – your images should have no more than 20% text on them.

If you missed our post on Facebook Cover Photos, click on the link to find out more.

What you may not have been aware of is that this 20% text rule also applies to ads and sponsored stories that show in News feeds.

We’ve been asked several times how the 20% rule relates to these ads and so we thought we’d show you.

We have run one or two ads ourselves, but that was a while ago. In doing the research for this post, it immediately became apparent that the whole Facebook ads thing has become more complex. So we’ve tried to keep things simple here.


Which Facebook Ads does this 20% rule apply to?

Well, almost all of the images that are used in a Facebook ad (see below for the exception) Here are 3 common examples.

  • Page Post Ad (appears in sidebar): where the image size is 100 x 72 pixels
  • Sponsored Story Ad where the image size is – 100 x 72 pixels
  • Status Update Image size: where the image size is 403 x 403 pixels (if you plan upgrade it to a Promoted Post ad)

Please note that the text restrictions do not apply to

  • Images shared in the timeline which aren’t promoted.
  • Marketplace ads

By the way, this 20% text includes any text you may have in a logo!


Here are some examples of what 20% could look like

Facebook Ads Text Rule











How did I calculate this?
Lets take the ad size of 100 x 72 pixels = 7,200 total pixels
Divide this by 5 giving you 20% of the total pixels = 1440 pixels
So in the examples below I’ve kept within this 1440 pixel parameter (that is 80 x 17.5 = 1400)

Here’s an example of the Status Update Image

In this example I’m using the image size 404px by 280px.

Facebook Status Update Image




 Photos Credit: slpeters

Some examples of  acceptable and unacceptable images


Acceptable Facebook Ad image


Unacceptable Facebook Ad image






So why restrict the text at all?

This is what Facebook themselves have to say on the subject.

Facebook people react negatively to content that they perceive as inauthentic or impersonal. Since text is rare in photos from friends, text in brand photos triggers negative emotions in people. Instead of introducing text in your images, choose photos that send a message or tell a story on their own without words

and on the whole I have to agree. What’s wrong with being a little more creative in choosing an image to enhance your offering, instead of slapping big red text on the picture to get your point across.

If you’d like to know where to get some great images that are in the Public Domain and therefore are free to use, take a look at our Resource page towards the bottom. There are several useful sites listed there.


What do you think?

Do you think that Facebook are being somewhat pernickety and should stop messing around with this sort of thing?

Or perhaps you think that these changes strikes a good balance on an Ad. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

PS. If you’d like to make your own graphics, why not get our 5 free videos that show you the basics of how to do just that.
Click on the link here to access the graphic design tutorials and enjoy!


About The Author

Caroline Jones

I’m Caroline and I look to help small business owners create their own graphics by writing tutorials and tips on graphics editing software. I live in Wales , love Tartan and Coffee Ice Cream. You can read more about me here

  • Christy – thanks for the heads up. Good grief – how is a small business supposed to keep up with all these changes – LOL

    • christy kunjumon

      I thought the post was discussing about Facebook image ad size & text ratio. Don’t know how small business came in between!! 😛

      • Christy – well, small businesses advertise on Facebook. that’s the link.

  • christy kunjumon

    Hey Caroline, Facebook is recently rolling out new ad specification and dimension. So image size are going to increase. In TechWyse we designed infograohic which outlines all the new facebook ad size and dimension.

    I think this will help a lot of people to plan & design the image used for ads in Facebook.

  • Loved it Caroline – very simple and extremely useful. Thank You! Unfortunately I feel a bit challenged by the rule. I agree that images are important but text is also important. You know how we all hate change 🙂

    • Ha ha – I don’t mind change Sheila, but I don’t like change for changes sake. I think it just means that we have to work a little harder in matching an image with the feeling we want to convey. Sigh…;)

  • Thanks for the detailed explanations, loved them! Have not used Facebook ads yet, but I might in the future!

    I think this rule is quite limiting in how much text you can have, particularly because it’s an ad, it should have text easy to read in it, right?

    • Delia – yes, I agree. I think Facebook would like people to try and just use an image to represent the offer and not just rely on the text to do the job. I could of course, be wrong 😉